For many, the real NFL playoffs begin in the Divisional Round. This year, the full slate of wild-card games lacked any semblance of high drama, with each game decided by at least 13 points. The Raiders and Texans performed to our expectations; Brock Osweiler managed the game and did just enough to prevail over a clearly overmatched Connor Cook, a rookie quarterback making his first career start. Even the Green Bay versus New York tilt majorly disappointed. Eli could not recreate his 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl magic at Lambeau Field.
Now, the elite teams have rested up and wait in the wings to determine whether or not the likes of the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers are for real or just hyped-up teams that “nobody wants to play.” Will they get punched in the mouth and fall flat against stiff competition?
It is win or go home, and smart coaching will expose many good, but flawed rosters. These power rankings should set the table for a more competitive round of football. The road to the Super Bowl is rarely a straight shot; it’s littered with twists, turns, and breakdowns in the form of fluke turnovers, botched calls, and untimely injuries. Here’s where all eight teams stand heading into the 2017 NFL Playoff Divisional Round.